WINTER WEATHER
6:45 am
Mon December 13, 2010

School Closings: Monday, December 13th

We're getting word of school closings across the state this morning.  They include Ann Arbor Public Schools, Jackson Public Schools, Kalamazoo Public Schools and Lansing Public Schools.

Be sure to check your child's school to see if it's closed due to winter weather.

The following websites have detailed school-closing information:

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Economy
4:34 pm
Sat December 11, 2010

Village of Baldwin hopes a prison contract can revive the area

California inmates will be housed in a Baldwin prison beginning in 2011
Flickr user Still Burning Creative Commons

The tiny village of Baldwin is hoping a private prison contract bringing thousands of inmates from California to Michigan will help revitalize the area. Baldwin is 65 miles north of Grand Rapids.

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Courts
11:10 pm
Fri December 10, 2010

Group asks state's high court to hear union dues challenge

Joe Gratz flickr/creative commons

A conservative group has asked the Michigan Supreme Court to hear a challenge to union dues paid by home-based child care providers.

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Opinion
7:28 pm
Fri December 10, 2010

The Big Chill is big time, but hockey was not always so popular at UM

Dubbed "The Cold War" - University of Michigan vs. Michigan State University ice hockey in Spartan Stadium in 2001. "The Big Chill" is coming to Michigan Stadium tomorrow night.
wikipedia user grosscha

Tomorrow, more than 100,000 frozen fans will watch Michigan play Michigan State at the Big House. Not in football, which happens every other year - but in hockey, thus setting the record for the biggest crowd ever to watch a hockey game - anywhere.

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Arts/Culture
5:47 pm
Fri December 10, 2010

MSU's Broad Art Museum names new art director

A view of the planned Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum from the northwest.
Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects.

Michael Rush will be the founding director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University.

Rush is well known in the art world – he’s published numerous books and articles about late 20th century art. He also directed the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University and the Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art.

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Internet
5:43 pm
Fri December 10, 2010

Is Twitter overated?

Twitter bird logo icon illustration
Matt Hamm - flickr user

Hash tags, retweets, favs, overheard, nudges... to the uninitiated it's like learning Sanskrit.

To the initiated, it's a modern day language.

But a new study finds that Twitter is not used as often as commonly thought.

The Pew Research Center focused a survey exclusively on Twitter. Previously Pew asked respondents whether they used "the Internet to use Twitter or another service to share updates about yourself or to see updates about others?"

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Arts/Culture
5:26 pm
Fri December 10, 2010

Detroit Symphony Orchestra reports $8.8M budget deficit

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra on stage
Nate Luzod creative commons

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra posted a $6.7 million budget shortfall for the 2010 fiscal year. Add to that the roughly $2 million the DSO spent on pension obligations and debt service on the Max M Fisher Music Center, and the total operating loss for the orchestra is $8.8 million.

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Arts/Culture
3:40 pm
Fri December 10, 2010

Custer's flag sells, was owned by the Detroit Institute of Arts

Flag recovered from Custer's last stand at the battle of Little Bighorn
(courtesy of the Detroit institute of Arts)

The Detroit Institute of Arts has sold a piece of Americana.    A flag that flew as General George Armstrong Custer's troops were defeated at the Battle of the Little Bighorn was auctioned off today.


The Associated Press Reports: 

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BUSINESS
3:30 pm
Fri December 10, 2010

UPDATE: Sunday morning liqour sales rules loosening

UPDATE: 3:30pm


 The Michigan Liquor Control Commission is loosening up its interpretation of the state’s new Sunday morning liquor sales law. 


The new law includes a provision allowing local governments to prohibit alcohol sales on Sunday mornings.  But the commission had said that any town or city doing so would be outlawing liquor sales ALL DAY Sunday.  That left many communities with a very uncomfortable choice.

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Farming
2:49 pm
Fri December 10, 2010

Dozens of counties in Michigan tagged as "Natural Disaster Areas"

A farm in Michigan
Maureen Reilly - flickr user

Update 2:38 p.m.:

There are more declarations of natural disaster areas in the state of Michigan. The 21 counties I wrote about below were for "excessive heat" disasters. The USDA has also issued natural disaster declarations for frost (the excessive cold occurred from March 1st through May 16th), AND for storms and rain.

The 32 counties that received the frost declarations can be found this FEMA page.

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Opinion
2:12 pm
Fri December 10, 2010

Commentary: Rays of Hope

We‘re in the middle of the holiday season, and in many ways, these aren’t terribly festive or inspiring times. We haven’t shaken off the effects of the Great Recession. Most of us know people who are out of work, in a time when there are too few jobs to be had.

We haven’t seen a lot of cooperation or willingness to work together from either our state or national governments. However, I was inspired by something this week. The American Civil Liberties Union of  Michigan ran a high school essay contest.

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Politics
1:14 pm
Fri December 10, 2010

Granholm highlights changes in culture, economy

Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

In less than a month, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm will step down from office.    She met with reporters today to reflect on her 8 years in Office.

From the Associated Press:

Gov. Jennifer Granholm says her biggest accomplishment during the past eight years was changing a culture attuned more to factory jobs rather than college degrees and diversifying the state's economy.

The Democratic governor told reporters in a year-end interview Friday that her effort to restructure the economy to rely less on building automobiles "is the thing I'm most proud of."

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Politics
11:37 am
Fri December 10, 2010

Editorial pays homage to Pete Hoekstra

Michigan Representative Pete Hoekstra
hoekstra.house.gov

Representative Pete Hoekstra came into office in the 103rd Congress in 1993. He's going out in the 111th Congress at the end of this year.

Hoekstra announced his retirement in December 2008 when he decided to run for Governor of Michigan.

He lost that bid to Rick Snyder and will soon be out of a political office after 17 years.

Today, the Grand Rapids Press ran an editorial praising Hoekstra's tenure, saying,

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Sports
10:45 am
Fri December 10, 2010

Big Chill comes tomorrow in Ann Arbor

University of Michigan

More than 109,000 hockey fans are expected to be on hand for Saturday afternoon’s outdoor game at Michigan Stadium.  Its being called the Big Chill for a reason.

The Michigan Wolverines will skate against the Michigan State Spartans in a game that will likely break the all-time attendance record for a hockey game.

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Investigative
10:20 am
Fri December 10, 2010

Regulatory Changes Coming to Michigan?

"Governor-elect Rick Snyder has indicated the regulatory process needs to be streamlined.
rickforMI

Business groups say Michigan’s regulations and the state’s regulators make it more difficult to do business in the state than it needs to be.  During his campaign for governor, businessman Rick Snyder made it clear he agreed with that.

“Our regulatory system is backwards in this state.  Not only the amount of regulation, but how people are being treated.  Lansing is treating us as if we’re bad and should be controlled.  The average person is a good, honest person.  The average organization is trying to succeed.  We should be focused in on the exceptions.”

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Environment
10:02 am
Fri December 10, 2010

Michigan steps up the war on wild boar

Rural Michigan is fighting a war with feral swine and wild boars.   The problem is getting worse.   Now, the state is about to take a major step up declaring them an "invasive species"


The Associated Press reports:


Michigan's fight against feral swine and wild boar is escalating.  Department of Natural Resources and Environment Director Rebecca Humphries announced Friday she signed an order declaring the swine an invasive species in Michigan.

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Auto Industry
9:13 am
Fri December 10, 2010

GM CEO says automaker has been humbled

General Motors Headquarters, Detroit, MI
Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

Dan Akerson, General Motors' CEO, told the Economic Club of Washington D.C. this morning that his company was humbled by its "near-death experience" during its 2009 bankruptcy.

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News Roundup
7:47 am
Fri December 10, 2010

In this morning's news

Governor-Elect Snyder Talks Up Economic Goals

Governor-elect Rick Snyder spoke to university students yesterday in Detroit about reinventing Michigan’s economy. Snyder told the crowd of accounting students at Wayne State University that Michigan will beat analysts’ negative economic growth expectations for the state in the coming years, Sarah Hulett reports. Snyder is the state’s first certified public accountant to be elected Governor of the state. But, as The Detroit News reports, Snyder urged the students to have a career plan that focuses on more than just money.

A Switch in Congressional Roles

Two Michigan Congressmen are switching roles on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.  Republican Congressman Dave Camp of Midland will become Chairman of the Committee in the new legislative session because Republicans took control of the House in the November election. Democratic Congressman  Sander Levin of Royal Oak currently is the Committee's chair. Levin will take over as the Committee’s ranking member, the job Rep. Camp currently holds, in the next Congress.

Oakland County Won’t Take Over Pontiac Police Patrols

The Oakland County Commission voted down a plan yesterday that would have had that county’s sheriff’s department take over police patrolling in Pontiac. Pontiac’s state-appointed financial manager had pushed for Oakland County to take over the patrols to save Pontiac money. The city faces a projected $9 million budget deficit. The city is expected to bring the issue back to the Oakland County Commission next month, Steve Carmody reports.

Governor-elect
6:57 am
Fri December 10, 2010

Plans continue for Snyder's inauguration

Governor-elect Rick Snyder will take the oath of office on January 1st, 2011 at 12PM.
Photo courtesy of www.governorelectricksnyder.com

Governor-elect Rick Snyder's inaugural day activities have been confirmed.  The governor-elect will be sworn in as Michigan's 48th governor on January 1st, 2011.  According to The Detroit Free Press, here's what we know:

  • The inaugural will last just one day.  Previous Michigan Governors' inaugurations have continued over more than one day and in multiple cities.
  • Governor-elect Snyder will take the oath of office at noon outside of the Capitol building in Lansing.  That will be followed by a receiving line that will take place inside.
  • An inaugural celebration will take place at 8 PM in East Lansing at Michigan State University.  Tickets are required for the event at a cost of $125.

Swearing in ceremonies will also take place on January 1st for Lt. Gov.-elect Brian Calley, Secretary of State-elect Ruth Johnson and Attorney General-elect Bill Schuette.

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CRIME
6:38 am
Fri December 10, 2010

Suspect in series of stabbings appears in court

Update 12/10/2010 6:28 a.m.:

A judge has ruled that there is enough evidence against Elias Abuelazam to send his cases to Genesee County Court.  That means Abuelazam now faces one murder trial and five attempted murder trials in connection with a series of stabbings in and around Flint earlier this year.  As the Associated Press reports the number of cases involving Abuelazam could grow:

Abuelazam will return to court Friday for a probable cause hearing in the stabbing death of Arnold Minor in August. Another murder case is scheduled for a similar hearing on Dec. 16.

Abuelazam also faces a charge of attempted murder in Ohio.

___

Update 12/9/2010 6:42 a.m.:

A man accused of a series of stabbings in Genesee County will appear in court today.

Elias Abuelazam will face four hearings, all involving charges of attempted murder in and around the Flint area earlier this year. A judge must determine whether there’s probable cause to send him to trial. Abuelazam has already been ordered to face one murder trial.

Two more probable-cause hearings are scheduled for tomorrow and next Thursday.

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